Half of Arizonans didn't cast a vote in 2016 election

PHOENIX - A new report by the Citizen's Clean Elections Commission states half of the people eligible to vote in Arizona, don't cast their ballot. 

About 45% of Arizona voters sat out of the 2016 election. That's about 2 million people who either registered to vote but didn't or people who are 18 and older but chose not to register. The commission says this is a crisis that needs to be taken seriously. 

"Millenials who are ages 20 to 35 now, they're aging," Tom Collins, Executive Director of the commission said. "But still, 49% of millennials are not registered to vote at all, and so only 25% of millennial cast a ballot in the 2016 election, which was one of the most contentious elections in history." 

To fix this problem, the commission says they have to figure out who votes, who doesn't vote and why. The commission says we must also admit there is a crisis. 

"Whether your Democrat, Republican or Independent, if you opt out of voting, you are voting whether you like it or not," Collins said. "So better to participate and have your vote tallied than to opt out and have your vote 'count' for nothing."

To fix this problem, advocacy groups across Arizona are working to register more people to vote. Their goal is 200,000 people before the November election.

Libertad Aguilar, 17, works for the group Mi Familia Vota, and often goes door to door in an effort to register more voters. She just registered to vote herself in February.

"Since I was a little girl my mom made sure I was aware of what was going on in the political climate at the time," Aguilar said.

According to the Secretary of State's Office, since 2016, there's been an increase of 32,000 registered voters.

Mike Noble, a pollster with O-H insights, says the direction our country is headed in, might depend on who wins the Senate seat in Arizona.

The U.S. Senate currently has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats, including two independents.

"Arizona is kind of ground zero for the hottest race in the country," Noble said.

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